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October 15, 2020
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With a chill in the air this smoked apple crisp recipe using the Meadow creek offset smoker is the prefect dessert for Fall. Tender apples, crisp oatmeal topping and a subtle kiss of smoke prepared in a cast iron skillet.

Cooking on an Offset Smoker

An offset smoker is about as old school as it gets in the world of barbecue, outside of building a cement block pit with a wire grate over it. Stoking the fire in an offset firebox puts you—the pitmaster—in the “driver’s seat” unlike anything you would experience in a pellet smoker or ceramic smoker that requires little or no tending of the fire.

I enjoy cooking on a Big Green, pellet smoker, drum smoker, kettle grill, gas grill, and a variety of Meadow Creek grills and smokers, but none of those can replace the experience I have with my Meadow Creek SQ36 offset smoker. When I’m operating a large offset tank smoker, it feels like work, but when I light up my SQ36 BBQ smoker, it feels like fun.

The SQ36 smoker is a good fit for a backyarder who enjoys playing with fire to create amazing food. The smoker is small enough to provide a relaxing experience, but large enough to host a backyard party.

In this story I’m cooking an apple crisp recipe on my Meadow Creek SQ36 offset smoker using a family-favorite recipe. My grandmother passed down this recipe, and my wife also grew up using it, so I’m calling that a double stamp of approval! 

Baking the smoked apple crisp in a cast iron skillet in a wood-fired smoker will elevate an already memorable recipe to magnificent levels.

Baking the Smoked Apple Crisp on an Offset Cooker

My goal is to bake the apple crisp at about 275 degrees for 60–90 minutes to give it some time to absorb smoke flavor and then raise it to 325–350 degrees for the rest of the time to help it develop a chewy crust and brown the topping. This should take a total of 2–2.5 hours, depending on your preference. This will give the apple crisp a subtle smoky flavor without overpowering the sweetness of the apples.

Lighting the SQ36 Smoker

With the stack vent and firebox vents fully open, light 6–8 pounds of 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes with a propane torch. 

You can light them with a charcoal chimney instead, then dump the lit coals into the firebox, but the torch makes it easy to light the charcoal and heat up the smoker itself in about 15 minutes, which is pretty impressive for a handmade BBQ smoker with this much steel to heat up.

After the charcoal is well lit, add some smoking wood to get started. Several fist-size chunks or one small log split (about 16” long and several inches in diameter) will work. 

I’m using a mix of pecan and other hardwoods from my wood pile. If using your own wood, make sure it’s had some time to dry and don’t use pieces bigger than about 3” in diameter. You want the wood to light quickly and avoid smoldering, which produces a thick white smoke with a nasty flavor. 

Fire Management

When cooking low and slow with this smoker, I usually add more charcoal or wood every 45–60 minutes. 

For this cook I used only wood after the initial lighting and because it was burning hotter, I added more roughly every 30 minutes—at 30 minutes, 1 hour, and again at 1.5 hours into the cook. 

To raise the temperature, I tossed on several logs at the 1.5 hour mark to raise the smoker temperature to 350 degrees and finish it off nicely.

The dessert was on the smoker for nearly 2.5 hours, but I let the temperature taper off at the end while I was eating dinner.

For this cook I used only wood after the initial lighting and because it was burning hotter, I added more roughly every 30 minutes—at 30 minutes, 1 hour, and again at 1.5 hours into the cook. 

To raise the temperature, I tossed on several logs at the 1.5 hour mark to raise the smoker temperature to 350 degrees and finish it off nicely.

The dessert was on the smoker for nearly 2.5 hours, but I let the temperature taper off at the end while I was eating dinner.

Fire management in an offset barbecue smoker involves balancing the following:

  • Weather (wind, barometric pressure, outside temperature)
  • Smoker load (how much cold meat is absorbing the heat)
  • Amount of fuel in the firebox
  • Amount of air you give the fire

How you adjust the vents and feed the fire will vary, but for this cook, I started with a little less charcoal than I often do, and left the vents fully open to maintain my target temperature. I could have used more charcoal and wood and throttled down the vents a bit, but it really doesn’t matter which approach you use, especially on a 2-hour cook.

To raise the temperature in the smoker, open the firebox vents more or build a hotter fire by stoking the fire and adding more charcoal or dry smoking wood. If you’re doing a longer cook on an offset smoker, it’s best to develop a process for adding measured amounts of fuel on a schedule to maintain a steadier temperature. For a short cook like this one, especially in a cast iron skillet, the temperature is forgiving.

Apple Crisp Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 quarts sliced apples

Topping:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder

Steps:

  1. Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together. Toss the apples in this mixture and spread them evenly in a 10” cast iron skillet.
  2. Mix the topping ingredients until they are crumbly, then sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples.
  3. Bake the dessert until the apples are soft and a crust forms. In the oven, you would bake this at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes. In the smoker, I used a lower temperature to help it acquire more smoke flavor, then raised the temperature at the end to brown it more. I’ll explain this in more detail below. 
  4. Serve with vanilla ice cream or milk.

My Final thoughts on the Smoked Apple Crisp

The smoked apple crisp was incredible. The apple and cinnamon, the chewiness of the topping, and the subtle smokiness of the wood fire are like music on your tongue—elegant and harmonious. This recipe is outstanding anytime of year But I especially love warm desserts on a wood-fired BBQ Smoker in the fall and winter. If you’ve never tasted a wood-fired dessert, you need to try it! This apple crisp is not only easy to make, but will also impress all of your guests and make you the hero of the party. Please consider this recipe and leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the recipe.


smoked apple crisp dessert

Smoked Apple Crisp

Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, BBQ, Budget Friendly
Keyword: Apple Crisp, Apples, Dessert
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 422kcal

Equipment

  • Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker

Ingredients

Crisp Topping

Instructions

  • Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together. Toss the apples in this mixture and spread them evenly in a 10” cast iron skillet.
  • Mix the topping ingredients until they are crumbly, then sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples.
  • Bake the Apple Crisp until the apples are soft and a crust forms. In the oven, you would bake this at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes. In the smoker, I used a lower temperature incorperate more smoke flavor, then raised the temperature at the end to brown it more.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream or milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Facts
Smoked Apple Crisp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 422 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 270mg12%
Potassium 179mg5%
Carbohydrates 70g23%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 49g54%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 523IU10%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About the Author: Lavern is a writer and the marketing director for Meadow Creek Welding, a manufacturer of handmade BBQ smokers and grills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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